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Super Bowl MVP Preview and Odds

January 29, 2013

SuperBowl 2013

A quarterback has been named the MVP of the Super Bowl the past three years and five of the past six, so it’s little surprise that San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is the +160 favorite for Sunday’s game in New Orleans, followed by Ravens QB Joe Flacco at +225.

Kaepernick has been brilliant in these playoff after just seven regular-season starts after replacing Alex Smith. Kaepernick has improved against added pressure during the postseason, primarily because he is making quicker decisions. He held onto the football for 3.8 seconds before passing, taking a sack or scrambling in the regular season when facing five or more pass rushers (league average: 3.4 seconds). That has dipped to 2.8 seconds in the postseason, and the result has been a 98.9 Total QBR (out of 100).

In addition, Kaepernick hasn’t been breaking the pocket as often this postseason, with 49 of his 52 attempts (94.2 percent) coming from within the pocket. In the regular season, 78.9 percent of his attempts came within the pocket, second-lowest in the league (Russell Wilson, 73.3 percent). His accuracy has been another huge asset. Kaepernick has seen only 12.5 percent of his pass attempts fall incomplete due to an over- or underthrown pass. When Kaepernick is off-target, the result is almost always an overthrow, as only four of Kaepernick’s 101 incompletions (including playoffs) have been a result of an underthrown pass.

Kaepernick’s nine total career starts are the third fewest starts by a quarterback prior to starting in the Super Bowl. Jeff Hostetler led the Giants to a win in Super Bowl XXV with just six starts under his belt. Vince Ferragamo’s Rams lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV. In the seven regular season games Kaepernick started, San Francisco used the option a total of 26 times, averaging 5.4 yards per rush with three touchdowns. The Niners have greatly increased the use of the option their two playoff games, running the play 29 times while averaging 8.4 yards per rush with four touchdowns.

Flacco, meanwhile, has won two road playoff games this postseason. His six total road playoff wins are the most in NFL history for a QB. Flacco has eight touchdown passes and no interception in the playoffs. The record for most TDs with no picks in the postseason was set by Joe Montana in 1989 with 11.

Much of Flacco’s success this season stemmed from his downfield passing. Flacco has the most pass attempts more than 20 yards downfield this season (101) but has yet to throw an interception on those throws. Since the start of 2008, no quarterback has finished a season with more than 58 attempts without an interception (Brett Favre, 2009).

Flacco, however, did not attempt a pass thrown more than 20 yards downfield against the 49ers in Week 12 of the 2011 season, a 16-6 Baltimore win. In his career, Flacco has only four games without such an attempt. Flacco completed eight passes on throws more than 20 yards downfield in his first nine career postseason games, but has 10 completions in three games this postseason.

It’s the final game in the Hall of Fame career for Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. He was the Super Bowl MVP in Baltimore’s XXXV win over the New York Giants. No defensive player has won two Super Bowl MVP awards. Lewis is +650 on to be the first. After recording 14 tackles in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, Lewis leads the NFL with 44 tackles this postseason. That’s the most by any player since Dan Morgan had 45 for the Panthers in the 2003 playoffs.

MVP odds from Wager Web

5450 Colin Kaepernick    +160
5451 Joe Flacco    +225
5452 Frank Gore    +550
5453 Ray Lewis    +600
5454 Ray Rice    +1000
5455 Michael Crabtree    +1200
5456 Anquan Boldin    +1500
5457 Torrey Smith    +1600
5458 Vernon Davis    +1800
5459 Aldon Smith    +2500
5460 Ed Reed    +2500
5461 NaVorro Bowman    +2500
5462 Patrick Willis    +2500
5463 Terrell Suggs    +2500
5464 Dennis Pitta    +3000
5465 Bernard Pierce    +4500
5466 LaMichael James    +4500
5467 Randy Moss    +3500
5468 Delanie Walker    +5000
5469 Field    +800